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Tag Archives: RFID

Freecom Hard Drive Secure Might Protect Your Data With RFID, Probably Won’t


By Evan Ackerman

While sheer paranoia isn’t the best thing to have dictating your gadget purchases, there are some instances where paying a small premium for that extra level of comfort and security might make sense. Freecom’s Hard Drive Secure is a run of the mill external HD, except that you can’t access the data on it without swiping an encrypted RFID card the size of a credit card past the drive. Swipe the card again and the drive locks itself. It’s not too terribly expensive at $120 for a 500 gig drive, although $410 for a 2TB drive it just a little crazy.

What Freecom doesn’t make clear is just how the encryption on the drive works… It sort of sounds like while the encrypted keycard locks and unlocks the drive, the data on the drive itself is not actually encrypted. This sort of system might keep your porn stash safe from your kid brother, but anyone with a mediocre amount of computer experience (which your kid brother probably has) will just remove the drive from the case and access it directly. Even having the locking system on the drive itself won’t thwart someone who is casually determined. And irrespective of the encryption on the drive, having to swipe your card a second time to lock the thing is just stupid. It should be set up so that if the RFID card leaves, the drive locks itself. And of course, I won’t even get started on the security flaws in RFID.

So yeah, there are some instances where paying a small premium for an extra level of comfort and security might make sense, but this is probably not one of them.

[ Bit-Tech ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

RFID To Improve Training On The Slopes

RFID Sensors On Skis (Image courtesy Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s no question that technology plays a big part in modern sports, particularly when an athlete relies on a piece of hardware like a pair of skis. But instead of improving how the skis perform, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are using RFID to improve how a skier’s performance is monitored during training. Typically, coaches and athletes have relied on videos of a run to analyze the weaknesses in a skier’s technique, but that approach lacks concrete data or accurate measurements.

But RFID transmitters attached to the front and back of a pair of skis in conjunction with receivers alongside the slope can be used to continually and accurately measure the position of the skis to within 3 centimeters. So at the end of a run not only do you have empirical data about whether or not a skier has drifted from the ideal path, or if they’re carving and cornering properly, but you can even tell if the skis were parallel to each other.

The new system appears to still be in development right now, and it will need to be perfected to the point where it doesn’t affect a skier’s performance or even drag during a run, but I’m sure down the road it will be responsible for the demise of a few Olympic records.

[ Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft – Signal opportunities on the slopes – with RFID ] VIA [ Medgadget ]

DIY RFID Beer Safe Protects Your PBR

By Evan Ackerman

Curious about RFID? Overprotective of your beer? Have 30 minutes of free time? The latest episode of Systm (starring David Calkins, who knows a thing or five about robots) shows you how to make your very own RFID locking system. It costs around $100, which is a heck of a lot of replacement PBR, but you don’t have to just use it on your beer fridge. The setup that you learn how to build is modular, and can be attached to pretty much anything… your front door, your cookie jar, your cat, whatever. Check it out:

[ RFID on Systm ]

USB Train Tickets Arrive In France

By Jonathan Kimak

SNCF, a railway company in France, is trying out some new tickets. The tickets are part RFID, which was already a standard on France’s railway ticketing system, and USB. The USB portion of the ticket allows users to plug the small thumb drive into their PC and load money onto the ticket to make future train ticket purchases.

The tickets will have 4GB of internal memory and will also contain some advanced security to keep people’s private information secure at all times.

The tickets are 8mm thick which should make them rather easy to carry(or to lose). Currently 1,000 tickets are being used during the trial run.

Of course the device will still not make the trains arrive on time or keep them from having that unique smell.

[ The Register ] VIA [ Wired ]

DIY Big Brother With RFID Card Printer

Brother RL-700s (Image courtesy Brother)By Andrew Liszewski

If the whole RFID concept has you a bit concerned this isn’t going to alleviate your fears. Brother has just released a new printer that will pretty much allow anyone to make laminated ‘TAG type’ ID cards complete with an embedded RFID chip.

I can only assume the chips are already embedded in the blank tags to start with but the printer can also be used to program each one with the person’s identification info. Having these available as an easy-to-use all-in-one unit will probably make a lot of office managers happy but if you’re an employee who finds yourself having to wear one of these all day you might want to cut down on those 2-hour lunches.

[ Brother RL-700s ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]